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Helping families eliminate debt through effective money management

By Tina Plett | Real Estate Magazine | May 12, 2015

People have this idea that being a real estate agent is a high-paying endeavour. After all, the four to seven per cent an agent might charge on a 250K property is a quick $10,000-$17,500, so why not? At that rate, a person need only sell five houses a year to make a nice living. It sounds easy and profitable.

But that kind of monkey math gets a lot of people in trouble.

By forgetting to count the cost, they become either unprepared real estate agents or clients who think agents should work for free. Allow me to debunk that a bit by telling you about my first year in the business.

I had taken all the courses, had outlined my goals for year one, and was ready to begin my first year in real estate. From my first day on May 1 to the last day of December that year, guess how much I made?

I’ll tell you my expenses were $22,000 for that half year. From what, you ask? Licensing, office fees and supplies, MLS fees, advertising, fuel for the thousands of miles I drove, and the list goes on. These expenses were deducted from my income. Which was zero. In my first year I sold absolutely nothing. By the end of year one, I was in the hole $22,000. Not exactly the fast track to riches.

What kept me going when all seemed lost?

The reason I got into real estate was to help people. I did not get into real estate to get rich. I wasn’t in it to burn piles of money either – I did mean to make an income. But because money was not my primary goal, I was not deterred by the lack of it. Neither was I “just trying it out” as many do. I wanted so badly to help people find a home, I would have done it for free. And I did. Maybe that sounds crazy, but it’s really what I’m passionate about. It’s my favourite part of this job and worth every frustration.

What we love, we are willing to do, even in the face of opposition or great cost.

If you’re new to the real estate game and it feels like it costs $40 to make a dollar, I understand.

If it feels like talking to a brick when trying to wheel and deal with the old pros, or you question your sanity for having chosen this job, I want to encourage you with this.

Pursue your passion. Chase what you love.

If you do that, all the confusion and hardships and tough times won’t matter as much, because you’ll be pursuing your passion and that will propel you forward.

What challenges do you face as a real estate agent?

What is the passion that drives you forward during tough times?

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The 2.5-storey, all-brick, detached house in Hamilton’s Kirkendall neighbourhood was listed at $499,888.

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Jim Murphy, AMP, President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP), answers questions about mortgage brokers and the services they offer

Content From Globe and Mail Mortgages Report Apr. 23 2015

What are the benefits of using the services of a mortgage professional when buying a home or renewing a mortgage?

Mortgage brokers offer expertise to assist with the biggest financial decisions most Canadians will make in their lifetime.

They’re educated and knowledgeable about the various mortgage products and rates, as well as the issues and trends that may affect you and your mortgage over the longer term.

Once a mortgage broker sits down with you in order to fully understand your income, type of work and total assets, as well as whether you’re new to Canada or self-employed, they’re able to then negotiate on your behalf with multiple lenders – including banks, credit unions and trust companies – to ensure you are matched with the best product to meet your specific needs.

And it’s a service that is generally free to the homeowner. In the vast majority of cases, mortgage brokers in Canada – including AMPs – are paid by the lender once they successfully place your mortgage. So it’s in a broker’s best interest to ensure you receive the best possible mortgage product and rate, tailored to your unique requirements.

What distinguishes Accredited Mortgage Professionals, or AMPs?

The AMP is a designation granted by CAAMP – the mortgage brokering industry’s national association – to mortgage brokers who have been in the industry for at least two years, have taken additional courses, and have passed a national proficiency exam. Recently, CAAMP undertook measures to strengthen the designation by enforcing more stringent requirements for qualifying and renewing. This ensures that those who obtain the designation have met the highest standard of education and ethics in the Canadian mortgage industry.

When is the right time to connect with a mortgage professional?

It’s never too early, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. If you’re thinking about buying a home, you want to know the mortgage amount for which you qualify before you head out on your search. That way, you can look at options within your budget and avoid the disappointment of becoming attached to a home that’s beyond your financial means.

If you don’t have a mortgage broker yet, you can visit to find a member in your community through our online directory – or talk to family, friends and other referral sources.

Is there anything else homebuyers should keep in mind when looking for a mortgage professional?

If you don’t understand something your mortgage professional has explained to you, be sure to ask questions until you feel comfortable. And although rate is important, there are many other questions that are just as important when it pertains to your mortgage. Are there penalties for breaking the mortgage early? What are the prepayment options?

Also, there is no substitute for being prepared. Educate yourself and get the facts you need to make the right mortgage decision and increase your home-buying confidence. Although buying a home is a sound investment idea, it is critical to understand what homeownership entails. Understanding each step of the home-buying process is key to ensuring you will make a wise decision that suits your emotional needs and your financial situation.

Should borrowers stay in touch with their mortgage professional after the mortgage is finalized?

CAAMP research shows that homeowners like to hear from their mortgage professional five or six times a year. That may include a spring, fall and winter newsletter with basic tips about spring cleaning or home maintenance. There are always things going on with the Bank of Canada, the real estate market and the government that may affect a homeowner, depending on what type of mortgage they have. Because a home is usually your largest financial investment, it’s wise to stay on top of that activity, and a mortgage professional can help keep you informed about your mortgage options throughout the home-buying process and beyond.


In 2014, the share of outstanding mortgages that were placed through the broker channel reached its highest point since we began measuring:

  • 30 per centof outstanding mortgages were obtained through a broker. (55% were placed through a bank).
  • 67 per cent (up 10% from last year) cited the top reason to consult a mortgage broker as “to get the best rate.”
  • Just 1 in 10 broker customers choose ONLY rate as the reason for choosing brokers, showing that most customers are looking for brokers to provide a variety of benefits over the direct-to-bank channel.
  • Of first-time homebuyers,

  • 73 per cent rated mortgage brokers/specialists as important sources for mortgage info (31% consulted a broker and 66% consulted a lender’s specialist).
  • Past mortgage broker customers are

  • 44 per cent more likely than average to be in the housing market in the next year.
  • Homebuyers average a

  • 20 per centdown payment,
  • and nearly 80 per cent of Canadians say they could have afforded a larger down payment.

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